1. A place of detention, especially for persons who are accused of committing a crime and have not been released on bail or for persons who are serving short sentences after conviction of a misdemeanor.
2. Detention in a jail.
tr.v. jailed, jail·ing, jails
To detain in a jail.
[From Middle English jaiole (from Old French) and from Middle English gaiol, gaol (from Old North French gaiole), both from Vulgar Latin *gaviola, from Latin *caveola, diminutive of cavea, cage, hollow.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.